I almost became a hoarder. Not in a 36-jars-of-belly-button-fluff kind of a way. Although that would have made me a lot more interesting. I was more of a borderline garden-variety hoarder. I collected vintage objects for their nostalgia and held onto sentimental things because I didn’t know how to let go of the past. And then, one day I realised that ditching my attachment to memorabilia was the best way to create space for a fantastic future.
I was keeping things that anchored me to an outdated version of who I was and what I wanted. Maybe you’ve been there too? Maybe you did rock that purple pant suit back in the day, or loved your bearded boyfriend once, but does that mean you have to keep them forever if they no longer help you achieve your hopes and dreams?
If you’re ready for your new life, it’s time to let some things go. You can actually do a lot to un-complicate your life with one big cull of all the objects, people and situations that no longer serve you. So, let’s get started. To un-f*#k your life you are going to need 3 boxes, 2 letters, 1 honest friend and an ounce of courage!
# BOX 1. Let’s get started by throw out some crap you don’t need. And I mean everything and anything that no longer represents the person you are today. Objects can’t validate how important you are. If you don’t already know this it’s time you did.
Don’t try to work out what to get rid of; instead, decide on what you need to keep. Your absolute must save forever items. Put those things in your box. Everything else that serves no obvious purpose can be discarded. This may include the bearded boyfriend.
# BOX 2. You probably have things that you know someone else would value more than you. It might be your Nanna’s cat-shaped vase. The one your sister always admires. Maybe you value it so much because she wants it? Put all your cat-vase objects in Box 2.
Now take a good look at what you’ve got in Box 1. You’re sure to find something in there that really belongs in Box 2. As soon as you can, begin giving all the things in Box 2 to the people who will want to add them to their stash of stuff that connects them to the past.
# BOX 3. These are the things you will burn. You know what I am talking about. Old love letters from the one that got away, a photo of you taken the day your heart was broken, the shrivelled end of your first baby’s umbilical cord (yes, I did).
Maybe it’s not a body part. Maybe it’s a hate letter from your Aunt Bessie (she really didn’t like your tattoo phase), or the memorabilia you kept from that holiday with your ex the summer before he got with your friend. Find a safe place, set the box on fire and watch your past miseries disappear in smoke. If the fire gets out of hand you can piss on it!
# LETTER 1. Now you are going to write a pen and paper letter to end whatever gives you the most grief. The thing that is messing with your happiness. It might be a relationship, a job or a commitment to something you’re only still involved with out of obligation.
If you don’t want to be custodian of your Girl Gang’s “festival dress-ups” for another year, say so. Only you can set the boundaries for what you will or won’t do for others. The reason you are writing it in pen is so you aren’t tempted to dash off an email you will regret. Get your friend to read your letter before you do anything with it!
# LETTER 2. This one is a letter to set the record straight. It might be addressed to a person who is still living or someone who is dead. Either way it represents a chance to tell it how it was from your perspective; the thing you always wished you’d said.
This type of hoarding is real. We save these losses up and they are like our kryptonite. Use this letter to get your grief out of your body. Let go of anything that is emotionally holding you back so you can have your dream life. Letter 2 can be added to Box 3 to be burnt or you can post it to a real or a bogus address, e.g., To My Gnarly Ex via Hell When It Freezes Over.
# 1REAL FRIEND. Your friend may have a better idea than you do about what to ditch from your life and what to keep. Their job is to advise you and to make sure you stick to your plan. It’s quite possible that they see your life differently than you do.
They may think your job is sucking the light out of your heart. Or that the bearded boyfriend is a narcissistic hipster who is not even capable of making a commitment to watering a house plant. Ask your friend to evaluate what is in your 3 boxes and read your 2 letters. Be guided by their neutral advice, all they want is the best for you.
# A Pinch of Courage. It’s not easy letting go of the past and I am not suggesting you should let go of the things that really mean something to you. But the truth is, when we hold on to objects, memories or situations that no longer serve us we are setting ourselves up for a fall.
Be courageous. Follow your instincts and take risks. You are here in a body now. None of us knows how long our life will last so get out there and seek happiness. I can’t guarantee it will be problem free. In fact, I can almost predict there will be bumps on the road. But what I do know is that the journey forward will be a lot easier if you aren’t trying to carry all of your past in boxes and tea chests with you.